Giant Cinnamon Roll recipe and cookbook review: The Pioneer Woman Cooks: The New Frontier

#ReeDrummond @ReeDrummond #ThePioneerWoman #ThePioneerWoman #TheNewFrontier @TheNewFrontier

If you love Ree’s other books, you’ll love The Pioneer Woman Cooks: The New Frontier, too! It has a great mix of comfort food and healthy fare, frequently with thoughtful ideas of how to make subs to suit to your eating style. She’s got some recipes for everybody’s favorite personal appliances like the Instant Pots and slow-cookers, but also gives instructions on how to cook it if you’d rather stick with the oven.  For the most part, she uses economical ingredients, but there’s a special surf and turf dinner with lobster tails and beef tenderloin. I love this one! But I’m most definitely already a big fan. 😊

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It was tough to decide which recipe to ask permission for. The Giant Cinnamon Roll is so good that it’s replacing the monkey bread I normally make on Christmas morning with Jacque Pepin’s quiche, bacon, and fruit salad, so I finally picked that one! And, you can make a lot of it ahead of time (Yeah, I marked it. Through step 8!) so it’s a great one for an easier morning! I love Scandinavian flavors at Christmas, so I may play with a little cardamom and orange in the icing then. Anyway, go make this and brighten your weekend! If you’re an espresso head like me, use espresso instead of coffee. Sooo good! A huge thanks to Ree Drummond for letting me share the recipe with you!

Giant Cinnamon Roll

Makes 12 servings

What: A gargantuan cinnamon roll baked in a skillet!
When: Any time you want to wow the cinnamon roll lover in your life.
Why: Because it bakes up like a coffee cake and looks incredible and inviting.

My cinnamon rolls, which were originally my mom’s cinnamon rolls, are legendary, and I don’t say that in a pat-myself-on-the-back way. It’s just the cinnamon rolls my mom taught me how to make truly are the best cinnamon rolls I’ve ever tasted, and the best cinnamon rolls you’ve ever tasted – even if you haven’t tasted them yet. After seeing the gigantic cinnamon roll trend on the internet, I decided to give it a try using my mom’s recipe. The results were astounding! And very, very, very large!

2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
(I only had olive, and that was fine. ~Jen)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) salted butter
, melted (Okay. I missed that word, “melted”, somehow. Mine was mushy room temp and that worked just fine, too. ~Jen)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Maple Icing
1 pound powdered sugar
, sifted
1/4 cup whole milk, plus more as needed
1/4 cup strong brewed coffee
1 1/2 teaspoons maple extract
3 Tablespoons salted butter
, melted

1. Butter a 10 to 12 inch ovenproof skillet. Set it aside.
2. Make the dough: In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, oil, and sugar and set over medium heat.
3. Heat until bubbles start to form on the sides of the pan, then turn off the heat. Set the mixture aside to cool to a little warmer than lukewarm.
4. Sprinkle the yeast over the mixture and let it sit for 1 minute.
5. Add 4 cups of the flour.
6. Stir until just combined (it will be very sticky), then cover the pot with a clean kitchen towel. Set the dough aside in a draft-free place for 1 hour.
7. Remove the towel (the mixture should have doubled in size; if not, allow it to rise a while longer) and add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and the remaining 1/2 cup flour.
8. Stir thoroughly to combine. You can cover and chill the dough at this point, or you can continue with the cinnamon roll. (Yay! Make ahead opportunity to make morning easier! ~Jen)
9. On a floured surface, roll out the dough into a large rectangle, about 25 x 10 inches.
10. Prepare the filling: Pour the melted butter over the rolled dough and use a brush to spread it all over the surface.
11. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon.
12. And sprinkle the cinnamon sugar all over the buttered surface.
13. Use a pizza cutter or knife to cut the dough into 4 long, even strips.

14. Starting at one end, roll up one of the strips, keeping the cut edge as lined up as possible.
15. When it’s rolled up, place it on the end of the next strip and keep rolling, lining up the cut ends as much as possible. Continue rolling with the other strips. You’ll have one really scary, huge roll of dough!
16. Carefully pick up the roll, and place it in the center of the skillet, neat edges up. Cover it with a kitchen towel and place it in a warm spot for 45 minutes to rise.
17. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. When the rising time has ended, place the pan in the oven and bake for 25 minutes.
18. Then cover it tightly with foil to avoid overbrowning. Bake until done in the center, 20 to 25 minutes more.

19. Meanwhile, make the icing: In a large bowl, combine the powdered sugar, milk, coffee, maple extract, and melted butter.
20. Whisk until smooth, splashing in more milk if needed for thinning.
21. When baking time is up (don’t be concerned if it kinda goes catawampus in the oven – that just means you’re cool), remove the skillet from the oven.
22. And pour the icing all over the top, around the edges, and in the center. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes to allow the icing to ooze down into the cracks and crevices.

23. Slice it into wedges and serve.

Helpful hint
You can make the dough the night before and store it, covered, in the fridge. Then just make the cinnamon roll the next morning!

My thoughts and pics of the dishes we tried:

1) Mesquite Grilled Chicken – p 142. This is the dish she’s holding on the cover, so I had to try this one. Easy, super flavorful mesquite chicken. I cheated and stole a little mesquite wood from my smoker and tossed it in my grill to amp up the mesquite. Yum! And vegetables are always better on the grill.

2) Queso Fundido – p 108. The tequila and chorizo are great additions, and there’s a whole lot more produce than the average queso. This one is the real cheese, stringy, need a spoon assist to load the chip kind of queso. My oldest loaded the leftovers into tortillas, gave them a quick spin in the microwave, and had a great on-the-way-to-work breakfast.

3) Giant Cinnamon Roll – p 27. Best cinnamon roll ever! Tipping that giant roll of dough into the pan takes quite a leap of faith, and looks like a wreck when you step back. Then it rises and you pull off the towel, delighted that it sorted itself out. Beautiful, easy, and super yummy! When she says serves 12, I questioned that and cut it into 8. Those were huge servings! I could barely finish mine, so maybe believe the 12. And yes, totally worth the carbs! It has maple and coffee in the icing, and it’s lovely. She called for strong coffee, so I went with espresso.

4) Instant Pot Sticky Pork Lettuce Wraps – p 177. Delicious. The flavor’s terrific without any effort at all. They really are nice and sticky. I used one lettuce leaf in the photo, but stuck an extra under each after I snapped it. It’s an insurance policy against tearage, which is a likely encounter in lettuce wraps, and adds just a little extra produce. Double win!

5-6) Chicken with Pesto Cream Sauce – p 160. This is divine. Go make this one right now! I took a pic of the prepped ingredients so you can see just how much produce is in this one. There’s a few cloves of garlic in this that didn’t make the photo. Those rainbow chard stems aren’t supposed to be there, but they’re pretty and good for you, so I sliced them up and added them with the onions.

7) Instant Pot Meatloaf – p 187. Oh my gosh. This may be my favorite meatloaf. I wanted more sauce. I think I may do 1 ½ times the sauce next time. Too yummy, and nice and quick.

8) Drunken Spaghetti – p 258. I love red wine pasta, and Ree’s take on it is fantastic! It makes great sense. If you think about all those luscious marsala dishes, it’s a deeply flavored wine and mushroom marriage of bliss. She uses 2 pounds of mushrooms and a bottle of chianti. I’ve made it with Beaujolais before and that gives a brighter purple pop, but the chianti was a better flavor match.

9-10) Zucchini Caprese Sliders – p 87. These are a fabulous low-carb treat! They’re easy to pull together, party-cute, yummy, and filled with feel-good ingredients. This is going to make our appetizer or side dish list a lot.

11) Caprese Bloody Mary – p 125. Yum! I made this as a cocktail to go along with the caprese sliders and red wine pasta. Perfection. I made the kids non-alcoholic versions with seltzer in place of the vodka.

12-13) Carrot Cake Baked French Toast – p 44. It really does taste like carrot cake! It uses a whole loaf of whole grain bread as the base. I grabbed a heavy loaf from the bakery so it could really soak up all the custardy goodness.

14-15) Tex-Mex Sheet Pan Breakfast – p 24. My oldest daughter said, “It’s okay if you want to make this again!” It’s a big, super filling, fresh and colorful tray bake breakfast. Delicious. It’s a very easy way to feed a lot of people a really nice breakfast at once without having to time a whole lot of different dishes. Note that if you like your yolks runny, you may want to add the tortillas and chorizo to the pool and let them get part of their cooking done before adding in the eggs. We liked a shorter time on the eggs. She gives 7 different breakfast tray bake ideas to try out if you love this one, so you’ll never get bored. These aren’t little tweaks either – 7 very different bakes!

16) Sheet Pan Shrimp Puttanesca – p 213. Yum! Fast, easy, and pretty. I went with kalamata olives because I always have those in the fridge.

I’ll update this as I play in the book more!

Some others I have flagged to try: Instant Pot Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal – p 34 * Lower Carb Eggs Benedict – p 47 * Tomato, Watermelon, and Feta Salad – p 53 * Greek Guacamole – p 92 * Goat Cheese Truffles – p 94 * Chuck’s Shrimp Brochettes – p 105 *  Heavenly Stuffed Mushrooms – p 111 * Chicken with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce – p 151 * Ranch Pork Chop Sheet Pan Supper – p 195 * Surf and Turf Skewers – p 229 (Saving this one for our anniversary in December!) * Eggplant Parmesan Spaghetti Squash Bowls – p 245 * Key Lime Pie Bites – p 295 (trying to skip the desserts, but these are just so cute!)

*I received a copy to explore and share my thoughts.

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The Pioneer Woman Cooks: The New Frontier